Want to personally influence the 2014 Baltimore city budget, get out of the house at dinner time and be in a room with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for an hour or so?
Even if you’re a teeny bit cynical and think only two of those three things are remotely possible, you might want to go anyway and check out the latest Citizen Budget Workshop, being held at 6 p.m. tonight (Thursday 11/29/12) at Digital Harbor High School, 1100 Covington Street.
The unexpected can happen.
If it’s run like the workshop held at Cylburn Arboretum that The Brew attended earlier this year, the mayor will be there (it’s on her schedule) and will actually walk through the room and interact with participants one-on-one. Better bone up on your facts, though.
Rawlings-Blake turned testy at that Feb. 4 budget exercise after participant Casey McKeel confronted her on tax breaks for developers. When McKeel slipped up on one detail, the whole conversation turned into an argument over who said what and McKeel’s larger point was lost.
If the format tonight is the same as with previous citizen budget workshops, expect a Power Point walk through of the city’s finances by City Budget Director Andrew W. Kleine. There will also likely be mayoral remarks about “tough choices.” Then you’ll break up into small groups and given booklets allowing you to keep or eliminate your favorite spending items or revenue sources.
Kleine recently spoke with WYPR’s Sheilah Kast about citizen participation in the budget process. Listen to the conversation, aired on her Maryland Morning show, here.